SPRINGFIELD, NJ – In 1988, Lenny Andriuzzi’s wife was diagnosed with Lupus. She went into remission toward the end of 1992. For Andriuzzi, the diagnosis was the beginning of what became a focal point of his life. Professionally, he was a litigator for Newman and Andriuzzi focused on insurance subrogation, commercial and personal injury. And he was good at it too, constantly on the road going from one trial to the next. He was a Partner of the Clifton NJ law firm Newman & Andriuzzi. N and now he is CEO of the New Jersey Chapter of the Lupus Foundation and Of Counsel for the firm.
His wife’s diagnosis got him focused on getting her better and increasing awareness and knowledge about Lupus. His involvement got him put on the board of the Lupus Foundation of America, New Jersey Chapter, Inc. in 1988 and in 1990, he assumed the role of Chairman. That was a role he held until 1996 when he went back to being a board member. In 2010, there was a vacancy and he again took the role of CEO.
His main objectives are to raise money, increase awareness and provide education for patients and those close to them.
Lupus is a disease that afflicts an estimated 1.5 million Americans and 5 million people globally. Women are estimated to represent 90% of those afflicted. The most vulnerable age group is 11 to 45 years old. In New Jersey, an estimated 42,000 people have Lupus.
It is not easily diagnosed, which means the estimated number of cases could be low. In fact, it often takes three to five years to diagnose. The disease is not considered reportable. Lupus is described as “…a chronic, autoimmune disease, which causes inflammation of various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood and kidneys.” With Lupus “…the immune system loses its ability to tell the difference between foreign substances and its own cells and tissues.” Lupus is not infectious, rare or cancerous. However, the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and osteoporosis is much higher for people with Lupus.
Other statistics about Lupus include women are five times more likely to die from it than men and African Americans being three times more likely to die from it that Caucasians. So far, there is no cure but there is a feeling progress is being made. The most common symptoms are achy joints (95%), fever of more than 100 degrees (90%) and swollen joints (90%).
Andriuzzi and the Financial Administrator Julia Oppenheimer are the two employees of the New Jersey Chapter. Their fund raising goal is to exceed $100,000. However much is raised, 10% goes to research and development. Events are often done with other New Jersey institutions.
A lifelong resident of New Jersey, Andriuzzi is a graduate of Seton Hall and Rutgers Law. He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus, St. James Council, Totowa Chapter and has organized the annual event at the Loyola Jesuit Center Retreat House. And He likes westerns, old movies and country music. He reads two or three books a week. Most often he reads historical fiction. He saw Elvis Presley perform in New York City.